A different kind of problem student (possible trigger warning)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by catnfiddle, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 29, 2017

    My school has rolling admissions, so I may get a new advisory student at any time depending on my current caseload. A couple of weeks ago, I got a new student but had no paperwork that had followed him. I did the best I could to get him settled, but there was something… off about this young man. He talked a lot about hanging out in bars (he’s 18 but could pass for mid-20s) and picking up older women. It made me uncomfortable to work with him, especially with his tendency to get too physically close to me for my taste. I have a sizeable bubble of personal space, so I wrote that feeling off as my own discomfort.

    This student’s information came in this afternoon. His discipline report shows he was sent to an alternative school early last year after threatening sexual violence against two schoolmates. I can handle students with severe emotional disabilities, but this information accompanied by my already-activated Spidey Sense may make it difficult for me. I talked with my AP about this student, but she pointed out that since he made the threats, he has been in an alternative school that included counseling. Also, it has been over a year since the incident, so it cannot be used as a factor in his attendance here.

    Anyone have advice on how to handle working with this student? My AP has offered to switch him to another teacher (I’m the only female advisor), but I would have to work with this student anyway as his English teacher, so it’s kind of moot.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 29, 2017

    I would probably go ahead and ask to switch him to another adviser because it would limit the number of interactions you'll need to have with him.

    As his English teacher, I can see how you're in a tough spot. At a minimum, he needs to remain seated whenever you're working together. You might have to make some arrangements to your classroom layout for this. You could designate a work table as the Help Station or something, and have students come sit at that table for extra assistance. If you're circulating the room during normal work time, he needs to stay at his desk while you help.
     
  4. MissBee06

    MissBee06 Rookie

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    Nov 29, 2017

    I work in a state prison in the education department and have been around all sorts of offenders. I don't know your classroom/office setup when you meet with him but try to keep a desk or a table between you. Position yourself closest to the exit with him across a piece of furniture from you. If possible have another person in the room or nearby when dealing with him one-on-one. I try really hard not to hold these guys past against them since they're already in prison, but sometimes someone will give me a really bad vibe and I make sure that another member of the staff is close by and that the officers are by the door. In the end you have to trust your gut, if you not being his advisor will limit some of the interactions and discomfort on you, then ask to have him switched.
     
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  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 29, 2017

    Thank you. My usual mode is to avoid reading a student's discipline file, but the Special Ed teacher and School Psychologist both pulled me aside to talk about it. SpEd teacher in particular was about to lose her mind since she has been an assault victim. The good news is that I share a classroom with another teacher who happens to be male but will be a good witness regardless of gender.
     

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